Confidence for a striker is an imperative, but fickle, thing. The ability to go to goal at a moment’s notice requires a level of comfort and assuredness afforded to strikers on good form.
For the Houston Dynamo’s Giles Barnes that confidence has taken a hit over the past nine weeks. Barnes last hit the back of the net May 8 in a 4-0 rout over cellar-dwellers D.C. United. As he sits on over two months without a goal, Barnes – who is part of a forward corps that hasn’t scored since that same date – is working to keep his confidence up while his teammates rally to give the talented player a chance to find his form.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” Barnes told MLSsoccer.com. “As a striker or attacking midfielder you want to be scoring goals. [I’m] still making chances, still working hard for the team and we’re getting goals in other places. As long as I’m helping the team I don’t need all the glory.”
Barnes started the season well scoring four goals in the first 10 games. Things looked to be on be the up, but then the drought hit. He started to see less of the ball as he split time between midfield and forward and chances became harder to come by.
Since that D.C. game Barnes has taken 23 shots, seven coming in a game against the Montreal Impact that he also missed a penalty kick in. That game was a microcosm for what’s ailed Barnes. Nothing more evident than his missed penalty in the first half.
“I missed the penalty at Montreal, if that goes in it breaks it,” Barnes said. “I hit the post at Montreal as well. The ‘keeper made a save this weekend [at New England]. Maybe I have to start striking a little bit stronger instead of placing it.”
While the goals haven’t come, Barnes is confident that things will turn around and his teammates are right there with him. With a midfield behind him that’s picking up the slack in goal scoring having notched the club’s last three goals, Barnes has the support to get things right.
“All the hopes aren’t pinned on one man or one striker, it’s the whole team,” said Andrew Driver. “He’s a quality player and everyone knows that. On the ball he’s great to watch. He’s going to get the confidence back at one point, he’s not got to worry about it.”
Added midfielder Adam Moffat: “It’s not like the guy’s missing easy opportunities. He’ll keep going. All it takes is one goal to get your confidence up. It can change very quickly.”
But there is a pressure that comes with the trade. With Will Bruin due back from international duty and players such as Omar Cummings – who is currently nursing a groin strain – and Calen Carr coming around, the forward line is getting packed. While the players that score goals have a better chance to stay in the lineup, Barnes is keeping a level head and looking to have a positive impact wherever he can.
“As long as I play well and work hard that’s all I can do,” Barnes said. “When I start scoring again that puts pressure on everyone else. As long as I’m playing well and working hard the goals can come from anywhere.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.